Dan Henning has been taking some heat from the press and fans lately. And he apparently is well aware of the temperature around him.
Fans have been complaining and the media have been pressing him about the timing of his play calls -- some of them clearly curious in nature because they seem to break rhythm and flow of potential touchdown drives. But during Sunday's 23-23 overtime victory over Green Bay, Henning had a shining moment of perfect timing and play-calling.
On a first-and-10 from the Green Bay 22 yard line, the Dolphins ran a bootleg right and threw back left to a tight end screen with Jake Long leading Anthony Fasano down field. It was perfect timing because the Packers came with a blitz from the screen side on the play.
So there was only one defender on the left side of the field and Long pretty much erased him. The score gave the Dolphins a 20-13 lead and made Henning so happy, he couldn't help but almost gloat a bit after the game.
While Fasano was speaking with me and a couple of other reporters in the locker room, Henning came over, certainly knowing full well his words would be captured by the reporters and absolutely intending for that to happen in my opinion.
“Great call on the tight end screen!” Henning said as he looked at Fasano and ignored the reporters.
And then, the offensive coordinator who is off limits to reporters after game according to the Dolphins stupid media policy walk hurriedly away.
It felt like Henning was celebrating the call, no doubt. But it also felt like he was looking for some attention to the call as well. Let's face it, if Henning had wanted to congratulate Fasano out of the view and earshot of the media, he could have done that on the team plane during the three-hour flight home, or today in a meeting, or any number of other moments.
But since Henning clearly wanted the attention, he's got it now:
Good call, coach! You done good on that one. And thank you for putting away the Wildcat on Sunday, finally following the advice of folks that recognize it is not working as well as it once was.
Fasano, by the way, agreed with Henning that the timing of the call was outstanding.
“You heard the OC come over. It was great timing," Fasano said. "We had a weak blitz and as long as Chad [Henne] had time to get it off good, it was going to work.”
The call was made perfect by the fact the execution was outstanding. That is a Henning pet peeve. He believes OCs get no credit for great calls, but rather the players get credit for great execution. So he never blames his calls when plays fail. He always blames the execution, which is one reason we've taken him to task here.
“I wasn’t blazing, but I was blazing enough to get in the end zone, I guess,” said Fasano, who then riled some Packes faithful with a fake Lambeau Leap. "I wanted to do the fake. I probably would have gotten pushed down if I had leaped in there.”
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